January 1983 saw more Class 31's transferred to Toton, all from the Western Region, including two allocated to Bescot (31294/296) whilst refurbished examples started to emerge from Doncaster Works.
Old and new graced the Cumbrian Coast line on January 6th when 25283 took APT power car SC49005 from Shields to Crewe.
On January 11th 25320 came to the assistance of 45003 on a northbound Redland stone train, the wagons left at Wellingborough and the failed Class 45 dumped on the stabling point. By the middle of February pairs of Class 31's had become regular performers on these trains. Likewise the Mountsorrel - Kennett stone trains had seen few Class 25's in recent months, however on February 8th 25048 & 25233 made a rare run into East Anglia on this service.
Most unusual visitors to Eastleigh on January 14th were 25161, 25167 & failed 25230. They had arrived on an unidentified freight and turned on the loop at the diesel depot to keep the failed 25230 at the rear of the trio. Further west the Ellesmere Port - Riverside bitumen tanks continued to bring Class 25's to Exeter, 25227 & 25237 so noted on January 20th. Several days later the few remaining NE/SW diesel hauled services converted to HST's, with the majority of the 'last' services on January 23rd were Class 45/1 hauled.
Changes to the winter timetable from January 24th saw a number of services cancelled or replaced by HST's. These included some North East / South West workings. Affected were through locomotive hauled services between Newcastle/Leeds & Bristol/Cardiff. Thus on Saturday January 22nd some 'last' moves took place. The 1V62 05.00 Leeds - Cardiff was in charge of 45118 'The Royal Artilleryman', which would later work the 1E73 17.37 Cardiff - Leeds. The 1E05 10.00 Cardiff - Newcastle was hauled by 45105. The 1V92 12.34 Leeds - Cardiff was handled by 45130. The 1V97 16.15 Newcastle - Bristol was in the hands of 45124.
The month end found 25044 working a turn on the Crewe - Cardiff run, although its failure led to ninety minutes delay, 47134 coming to its rescue. This was a Monday's only turn due to the regular Class 33 being required for crew training, other Class 25's so noted were 25044 (Feb 21st), 25224 (Feb 28th), 25042 (Mar 14th) and 25060 (Mar 21st).
The beginning of February saw 31204 (and later 31123) arrive at Willesden for crew training, as replacement for the Class 25's, drivers from Rugby, Northampton & Bletchley included in this training. On February 5th 87015 pulled down the overhead wires in the Hest Bank area. The following train, a Glasgow - Birmingham service with 87019 was rescued by 25242 being attached to rear, taking the train to Preston via Hellifield & Blackburn! Further north on this day 25042 was in charge of the 15.45 Carlisle - Edinburgh (via Newcastle?). Problems with the locomotive on February 7th's 08.13 Rugby - Liverpool saw the train start from Coventry behind 25262 with 86312 taking over at Birmingham New Street. The next day 25262 rescued 87005 on the 18.40 Euston - Wolverhampton service, being so noted at New Street. On February 12th the 9.03 Cambridge - Birmingham N.S. arrived in charge of 25058 & 25136.
A new Banbury - Hull grain working during February seemed to attract a variety of motive power, on March 9th 31217 & 25051 handled the working.
Oddities continued, 25318 moved from Toton to Glasgow Works during February, though initially setting off in the wrong direction, towards Swindon! It was probably sent to Glasgow with the intention to become part of the 'Ethel' fleet at Aberdeen, or at least provide spares for those machines selected for further 'Ethel' service. Edinburgh took advantage of Crewe allocated 25185 on February 26th, after arriving on a parcels service it was then noted on local ecs duties. An usual duty on February 24th for 25048 was the movement of recently preserved Hymek D7076 from Leicester via the Hope Valley line to the East Lancashire Railway group at Bury.
The Norwich - Birmingham services were still regularly visited by the Class 25's, on March 1st 25303 handled the 07.40 ex Norwich, on 4th 25058 worked the 18.18 ex Birmingham. The following day 25207 was an unusual choice for mgr empties in the Huddersfield area, normally the fixture for Knottingley's Class 47/3's.
The spectacular derailment of a Stanlow - Bishopbriggs oil tank train south of Acton Grange viaduct on March 3rd behind 47225 led to a major fire which closed the line for several days. On 5th, with the Chester line still closed a permanent way train was noted behind 25136 & 40022 at the scene.
On March 9th 25317 working the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels failed at Wem, Shrewsbury sent out 47197 to assist, the failed Class 25 being dumped at Hereford. The same day saw 25206 & 25208 in charge of an early morning Trafford Park - Newcastle Freightliner working. March 18th proved to be a sorry day for the Hereford area with two failed Class 25's dumped at the stabling point. 25240 had expired on the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels, being rescued by 25284, whilst 25279 came to grief on the 19.08 Manchester - Cardiff parcels. The failures spent several days at Hereford, with 40076 taking 25279 & 47212 (also failed) to Cardiff on 21st, whilst 25240 moved on 22nd headed for Crewe behind 25083 as part of a Severn Tunnel - Carlisle freight! Their place was taken the next day when 25296 failed at Hereford with the 15.02 parcels again, the station pilot 08668 removing the train from the mainline as no replacement was immediately available. Another Manchester parcels working regularly using Class 25's was the 18.09 to St Pancras, weekdays running via Dore West/South Jct whilst on Saturdays reversal occurred at Sheffield.
The breaking up of 25023 at Swindon in March transferred the honour of the longest retired to 25028 (withdrawn December 1980), currently at Polmadie. Longtime stable mates of Manchester area Class 25's, the Class 76 'Tommies' began their final trips east beginning in late February through April, leaving Reddish for CF Booth's, Vic Berry's and Coopers Metals, though several would be broken up on site at Reddish.
The Easter weekend found WCML traffic diverted over the Settle & Carlisle, with Class 47's predominating. However the Stranraer - Euston empty news vans was noted behind 25313 on April 2nd. Six days later, en route to Parkeston, 25313 came to the rescue of the 14.53 Cambridge - Harwich Town diesel multiple unitu (E51298/E56468) which had failed at Six Mile Bottom. The passenger service was cancelled upon reaching Ipswich two hours late, allowing 25313 to return to Parkeston to take up the 20.53 Speedlink service to Widnes.
Several double-headed Class 45 turns continued in the 1983 timetable. The Sundays 13.05 Nottingham - St Pancras and the 17.00 Derby - St Pancras were so diagrammed as was the 16.53 Derby - St Pancras and the weekdays 07.01 Derby - St Pancras. Similar diagramming would continue until the end of regular Class 45 operation, though many times the booked doubleheadings if they occurred may not have been always Class 45s.
This summer the North Wales area saw the results of the cascading of Type 4 locomotives with a veritable lack of Type 2's on the area locals, although on April 11th the 11.49 Bangor - Manchester used 25042, in preference to the more regular Class 40/45/47's. On April 22nd the Ellesmere Port - Riverside bitumen tanks ran behind 25240 & 25190, whilst class mates 25033 and 25050 collided with each other at Birkenhead, resulting in the withdrawal of both machines. The last couple of months had seen a considerable number of locomotives involved in minor collisions, having the two fold effect of reducing the active machines available for traffic and putting an additional burden on the repair shops. Such was the volume of these incidents that an article in BR's 'Rail News' highlighted this sorry situation. Towards month end (27th) March provided 25152 & 31182 to work a ballast train between Whitemoor & Bury St Edmunds, the train spending the whole day in the area, visiting Stowmarket to run round the train. The local trip working from Whitemoor continued to featured a number of Class 25's, 25240 (May 3rd) & 25276 (5th).
The May transfers saw considerable activity on the ER, with Tinsley receiving a large quantity of Class 56's from Healey Mills, exchanging them for numerous Class 31's, also moved from Healey Mills were a number of Class 40's to Longsight. Further south 31123/128/256 were transferred from the WR to Cricklewood, Toton's Class 25 fleet continued to diminish with more transfers away to other LMR depots and eight of its Class 31's moved to Bescot. About thirty withdrawn Class 25's were scattered at various depots awaiting movement for scrapping, withdrawals continued whilst re-allocations took place between the LMR depots. The withdrawal of 25027 in May, it being stored initially at Saltley, led to 25032 becoming the oldest in service. April 30th saw the closure of Reddish depot, with 25078 being the final locomotive repaired there, having received attention for loss of power problems. That same month the scrapping of locos at Derby Works by BREL staff ended with 25085, cutting had commenced on 25261 but unresolved safety issues concerning asbestos (and lead paint?) brought this to a halt in June leaving 25261 in a partially dismantled state.
A very damp May 1st found 25278 in charge of the LTE 'Metroland' railtour between Amersham & Rugby. The next day 25230 & 25243 worked a Lichfield - Aberystwyth special. The Cambrian lines again saw the reinstatement of the Sunday services for the summer season. On 7th a Paddington - Bewdley special arrived behind 25236 (failed) & 25235, having taken over from 92220 'Evening Star' at Dorridge, the return working being taken by 25202 & 25268 as far as Swindon, where 47508 took over for the return to Paddington. The following week an Open Day at Kidderminster Goods Yard included 25202 and 25067 (withdrawn) as well as Tyseley dmu set TS417 along with a number of other exhibits. The displays were to publicize the service improvements between Worcester & Birmingham. The new timetable found all but two trains on the Midland Mainline in the hands of HST's, just a couple of overnight services remained with loco hauled Mk I stock. The released Class 45/1's headed for the Newcastle - Liverpool - North Wales services.
Early May also saw a number of Class 25's filling in on the Cardiff - Crewe runs, 25196 on May 2nd, 25198 (10th & 11th) whilst 25315 handled an extra Holyhead - Pengam freightliner (3rd). Additional Crewe - Margam coal workings had seen a number of the return empties handled by Classes 25 & 40. Over at Ipswich 25249 arrived with five tanks from Langport on May 14th, 47242 took the train forward to Parkeston whilst the Class 25 returned light to March.
Bewdley received two excursions on May 22nd, a dmu from Four Oaks and 25133 & 25135 from Warrington. Four days later a fourteen hour vigil of movements at St Albans revealed just three Class 25's in action, 25283, 25301/316, all on freight workings.
Visitors to Exeter on the bitumen tanks from Ellesmere Port included 25213 & 25210 on June 1st and 25236 & 25313 (3rd). The following day the 11.05 Leeds - Bescot freightliner ran behind 25239. A week later (11th) 25229 & 25117 were noted bringing sand hoppers into Knottingley. ETHEL 1 (25310) was in use at Inverness at the beginning of June, including pre-heating the Royal Train stock.
The annual open day at Coalville was held on June 5th with a considerable quantity of attractions, several in support of the 150th anniversary of the Leicester & Swannington line. Over fifteen different steam & diesel classes were present including 25078 and freshly out-shopped (from Derby) 27014. This day brought severe thunderstorms to the southern half of the country, with three inches of hail reported in places and a small tornado striking Brighton. Two days later Manchester was hit by a severe storm with spectacular lightning with hail the size of tennis balls, causing much damage.
Double headed diesels over the southern end of the WCML were quite rare, to have them on a consistent basis with mixed classes was most unusual, but during June the Lawley St - Ipswich freightliner, normally electric hauled south of Nuneaton, produced an interesting variety. June 9th produced 25035 & 47066, 13th 47353 & 25236 and 15th 25236 & 47452, others noted included Classes 31 & 45. Coventry lost its status as a crew signing on point on June 13th, 25190 became the last locomotive to leave, that night returning to Nuneaton. Further south a Willesden - Clapham Jct weedkilling train ran in the early hours of June 17th behind 25287. The use of Class 25's on the Cambrian lines was supplanted on June 19th when a Bristol - Aberystwyth excursion utilised an HST (power cars 43139 & 43140), during its layover it worked a round trip to Shrewsbury! The summer timetable saw the Nottingham - Llandudno revert to two three car dmu's whilst there were officially no North Wales passenger workings for Class 40's. However the big Type 4's along with Classes 45/47 and the smaller Class 37's were regular visitors to the Buxton area freights, so much so that the Class 25's were often completely absent from the area.
25210 & 25211 top-n-tailed a steam excursion between Morecambe and Heysham on June 18th, 5690 'Leander' having brought the train into Carnforth.
June 23rd found 25140 in front line service between Preston & Crewe, filling in for an electric on the 18.38 Blackpool - Euston. That same day Crewe depot sent withdrawn 25314/319 to Derby Works. They had been out of service for about three months and were received at Derby for generator and bogie work prior to their moving to Aberdeen to join ADB 97250 as generator vehicles. 25314 would become ADB 97252 but 25319 would not leave Derby as intended, eventually being scrapped at Swindon in December 1985. It would be replaced by 25305, as ADB 97251, which had been withdrawn, for its second time, from Bescot in July 1983. July also possibly saw the first mobile outings for ETHEL 1 when it was attached to the 09.05 (Sunday only) Edinburgh - Oban and 15.30 return. The first working was on July 3rd using an E&G push/pull set of coaches powered by 37051 with the former Type 2 marshaled behind the Class 37.
Mid summer found the scrap lines at Swindon Works containing just over eighty machines, nearly half being Class 08's. Only two Class 25's were present, 25118 & 25280. The arrival of 31293 at Bletchley late in June allowed fitters from various LM depots to acquaint themselves with their soon to be new steeds. Also a little out of the way was Hadfield emu set '03' at Allerton for wheel turning, making its escape back to Longsight on June 30th behind 25253.
With the arrival of July came a period of extremely hot weather which had an adverse effect on the railways with both the permanent way/signaling systems and the locomotives/rolling stock suffering many failures, leading to numerous delays and unusual workings. The hot weather peaked in the third week, adding to the problems were heavy thunderstorms causing power outages and localised flooding. The slow demise of the class continued during the summer months along with many examples of Classes 08 & 40. The last Darlington built Type 2, 25247 was retired in July, whilst 25305, reinstated in 1982 was retired again, quickly making its way north to Aberdeen as an Ethel candidate. Class 25's filled in on a couple of turns on the Birmingham -Norwich services early in July. The 16.14 to Norwich on July 6th used 25057 whilst the next day's 18.18 to Norwich featured 25250. Amidst the regular Classes 40 & 47's on the Liverpool - Preston runs July 11th produced three Type 2's: 25192 on 16.20 Glasgow - Liverpool, 25097 on the 18.20 ex Glasgow and 25321 on a following relief! Further south the 08.01MO Crewe - Cardiff and 11.40 return featured more Type 2's, 25302 on June 6th, 25133 June 13th and 25242 on July 4th. On the Carlisle - Glasgow (via the GSW) run Class 25's still appeared on passenger workings, most frequently those machines from Kingmoor. So noted were 25084 on July 18th working a round trip, 25042 (23rd) and 25236 (29th) the latter two working one southbound trip.
25206 & 25117 came to the rescue of 56031 on July 19th after the Class 56 suffered a turbo-charger failure working an ARC stone train at Verney Jct, the Class 25's taking the working to Wolverton and then the broken Class 56 to Bletchley for examination. The following ARC stone train stopped on the Bletchley flyover, the two Class 37's were removed, ran forward to Bletchley to pick up 56031, all returning to the WR on an empty working. 25256 arrived to take the loaded train forward to Wolverton, not surprisingly making hard work of the heavy load. The transfer of a further batch of Class 31's from Toton to Bescot relieved the Class 25's of more local duties in the South Midlands area, although on August 7th 25279 & 40079 were noted south of Coventry station on p.w. work.
A Derby - Newcastle - York - Newcastle - Derby test train ran on various occasions during July using three laboratory coaches and four Class 317 coaches to investigate 'brake cooling'. On July 20th 25242 was noted in charge of this combination. Also in the north east, July 26th found 25307 in charge of a Hartlepool - Widnes car train. A visit to Aberdeen in the last week of July revealed newly arrived 25305 on shed.
Further hot weather occurred during August with the consequent disruption to services. The availability of the HST sets on the ECML and NE/SW routes dropped considerably with many running on one power car or substituted completely by scratch sets of loco hauled stock. Further demands were made on loco hauled stock following teething troubles encountered with the new Class 317's on the Bedford - St Pancras service, with rough riding & loose transformers being two of the more serious issues. Class 313 units were borrowed from Hornsey & Clacton as well as scratch loco hauled sets and the prolonged use of some of the venerable Cricklewood based dmu's. The Ellesmere Port - Riverside tanks ran behind 25230 & 25231 on August 2nd and 25231 & 25212 on 9th. A double headed combination worked August 3rd's 00.30 Cardiff - Manchester mail with 25032 & 25240. That same day 25297 & 37303 worked the 07.50 Earles Sidings (Hope) - Widnes. The remarkable combination of a Class 25 & 40 on the Ditton - Broughton Lane BOC tanks continued throughout the summer, although pairs of Classes 25 or 40 were occasionally seen, such as 25106 & 25307 on July 28th. The Ditton - Wolverhampton BOC working was diagrammed for pairs of Class 25's but occasionally featured a Class 25/40 mix. On August 4th a special Ditton - Polmadie working used 25202 & 40131.
On August 16th 25086 was noted on the ECML at Newark hauling 46011 northwards, later returning south with 47295 & 47430. The next day 25243 caught fire near Bletchley whilst working the Kings Cross - Tring cement empties, the fire brigade taking seventy minutes to deal with the fire. Rescue came in the shape of 25089, though for 25243 the damage proved fatal with retirement taking place during September.
Despite the increasing numbers of Class 31's available over the WCML the Bank Holiday diversion of the Euston - Aberystwyth services north of Rugby used pairs of Class 25's. The 07.35 used 25117 & 25237, the 10.10 featured 40135, due to be relieved by 25249 & 25306 at Birmingham, but instead working through to Aberystwyth. In the opposite direction 25250 & 25287 took the 10.10 ex Aberystwyth as far as Nuneaton. Other Class 25 haulage at the end of August featured 25323 on 22nd's 15.38 Carlisle - Edinburgh, which started this day from Newcastle due to a derailment at Corbridge whilst 25257 hauled 27th's 18.45 Liverpool - Manchester Victoria.
The 16.00 Leeds - Carlisle on September 10th used 25048 and four coaches, this working had been regularly in the hands of recently repaired 40122.
On September 15th the 07.34 Manchester Victoria - Liverpool used 25145.
September 18th found Severn Tunnel Jct depot using two Class 25's on local workings, 25199 on the morning local to Hereford and 25084 to Gloucester. The next day the Mountsorrel - Elstow Redland stone working used 25044 & 25185, now normally in the hands of pairs of Class 31's. On 22nd a similar Redland working with 31131 caught fire causing considerable delays, after the fire was put out 31311 took the train to Radlett to await assistance from Cricklewood in the shape of 47101. From the beginning of October this working would be powered by a Toton Class 56. On September 23rd 25123 was towed to Bristol Bath Road for undisclosed reasons.
By the end of September 25314 had reached Aberdeen Ferryhill, with work already underway on its conversion to ETHEL III. Another wandering machine, RDB968008 (24054) finally reached preservation at the East Lancashire Railway, Bury on October 13th, having spent the first half of the month in transit from March.
October opened with 25051 & 25239 arriving at Newcastle with a Paisley - Sheffield special, going forward behind 31291 & 31327, the Class 25's returning to Carlisle with an ecs working.
A wandering ballast working caused problems on the Oxford - Bletchley line on October 4th. The up Oxford line was already closed due to out-of-gauge track, all traffic using the down line, including the ballast working behind 25175. Having cleared the single line section it was then decided to return the train to Aylesbury using recently arrived 25080. This locomotive derailed whilst changing tracks, the scene cleared by the Bletchley rerailing team later that evening with the ballast train being towed away by 25175! Further north track alterations at Ilkley saw a ballast special behind 25195 & 25306 on October 9th. Withdrawn 25067 moved from Bescot to Wellington on October 11th as one of the exhibits for a 'rail week'. This may have been similar to a rail week at Wrexham from October 1st that included withdrawn 40106 and was part of the advertising campaign to highlight the new Chester - Shrewsbury - London service.
Filling in for a dmu on October 20th 25206 powered the 07.20 Blackpool - Manchester and 09.50 return. Sister machine, 25201 worked the 20.15 Tees - Bescot Speedlink on 26th.
The 10.40 Carlisle - Leeds had superpower on October 28th with 25042 & 40099, the Class 25 returned with the 16.00 to Carlisle but expired at Kirkstall with 31152 coming to the rescue. Passenger loadings on this line were heavy due to promotion of the cheap awayday fares, and the imminent closure notices about to be served on this route.
25069 hauled a late evening Middlesborough - Neville Hill exhibition train on November 4th. The Wellingborough - Ripple Lane tanks, generally a Class 47 working featured 25194 on November 1st and 25230 on December 2nd.
The 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels continued with Class 25 haulage, on November 15th 25154 failed on this working at Hereford, remarkably 25244 was available to take the train forward, the following day 25268 was in charge. After this date Class 47's took over possibly because of the heavier pre Christmas parcels traffic. November 17th found 25060 cruising down the ECML on a Tees - Healey Mills freight, five days later 25239 was noted at Huddersfield in charge of the 08.05 Liverpool - Newcastle. The remaining asbestos laden Class 76's were finally sold to CF Booth's, Rotherham, with the seven machines sent in two moves. 25221 took 76002/43/48/50 on November 24th whilst 40044 took the last three, 76004/52/55 on December 1st, though hot boxes on two of the machines considerably delayed their arrival at the scrappers. Another unusual move involved an un-identified Class 25 taking E26020 & 790 'Hardwicke' through Huddersfield on the last day of November. Further north 25035 in charge of a Ferme Park - Heaton ecs working failed at Darlington, after repair here it handled a local permanent way working the next morning.
November 25th found 25277 on duty at Euston handling the evening's ecs movements. After drawing forward from the stock for the 22.10 sleeper, the stock rolled forward hitting the locomotive, derailing the Class 25 and two sleepers. Rerailing was completed by 8am the next morning, though some outbound overnight services were inconvenienced. Although the damage suffered by 25277 was minor it was enough to bring about withdrawal following a trip to Derby Works.
With the transfer of 25119 from Toton to Crewe in November the long association of this depot with the Class 25's came to an end. It had been twenty years earlier in April 1963 that D5183 (25033) brought the first of the Class 25's to Toton. Another loss although only temporarily was the various bitumen workings from Ellesmere Port, traffic ceased due to industrial problems at the plant. However by mid December workings resumed, 25296 & 25268 noted at Exeter on December 13th with the tar tanks.
Whilst propelling a ballast train at Bletchley on December 2nd 25324 derailed one wagon, a mis-communication causing the train to set back without the route being properly set. An unusual arrival at Follingsby on December 6th was 25191 on a freightliner working from Trafford Park. On 14th this locomotive was noted heading west through Port Talbot. The 10.05 Liverpool - Newcastle on December 15th was noted at Huddersfield behind non-boilered 25262, not a great choice during the cold spell that had gripped the country. In the Liverpool area services from Preston continued to see Type 2 haulage, 25327 arrived from Preston on 18th, 25044 from Barrow (19th) and 25145 from Preston, ex Edinburgh (27th). Other non-boilered Class 25's on passenger work included 25283 on December 23rd's 16.02 Crewe - Cardiff, returning after the Christmas break on a Penzance - Crewe Parcels (28th).
Many of the condemned dual braked Class 25's now arriving at Swindon were having this equipment promptly removed for further use, many of these machines being broken up very quickly. Any Class 25/3's retired as well as donating parts to their sisters, also offered up their Tray 5 control circuitry card which could be used in the later model Class 20's. As the year closed 117 Class 25's remained in service whilst 83 withdrawn machines awaited scrapping. For the number crunchers there were now big blocks of scrapped/withdrawn machines including 25096 - 25106, 25128 - 25144 & 25162 - 25172, the largest continuous numerical batch of operating machines was just 25205 - 25213.
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